Honorees humbled, pleased by induction into select group
Diron Talbert, one of seven men in the Longhorn Hall of Honor's class of 2005-06, admitted he is not a regular in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium each fall.
He said he does get to one game a year.
"But, you have to remember," Talbert said from his Texas City home, "between playing college football at Texas and playing 14 years in the NFL, well, that's 19 years of hunting seasons that I missed.
"Now, I'm just trying to catch up."
Even while offering his mea culpa, Talbert notes that he isn't too far from a TV or radio each Saturday in the fall.
"My brothers (his two older siblings also played for UT) and Tommy Nobis and I were watching the OU game while on a NFL Legends pheasant hunt in Montana," Talbert said.
Joining Talbert in this year's induction ceremonies, held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Nov. 11 and in conjunction with the game against Kansas Nov. 12, are Tony Degrate, football (1982-84); Eddie Phillips, football (1969-71) and Brooks Kieschnick, baseball (1991-93).
Degrate was a consensus All-American as defensive tackle in 1984 and winner of the Lombardi Trophy, which is presented to college football's top lineman that same season. A two-time All-Southwest Conference selection (1983-84), Degrate remains the all-time record-holder for solo tackles in a season by a Longhorn with 123 in 1984. He also led the '84 team in sacks (12) and forced fumbles (four). A fifth-round draft choice of Cincinnati in 1984, he also played a year in Green Bay in 1985.
Kieschnick, a three-time All-American and two-time winner of the Dick Howser Award as the nation's top collegiate baseball player, still ranks in the top 10 in 11 different hitting and pitching categories at UT.
A three-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year as pitcher and designated hitter, Kieschnick remains atop the UT list in slugging percentage at .676, is second in home runs and third in RBI. He was a key to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1992-93.
The 10th pick in the 1993 draft by the Chicago Cubs, Kieschnick has played with four major league clubs is six seasons. He currently toils with the Class AAA Round Rock Express.
Also being honored are three vintage candidates: Charlie Gorin, baseball (1948-50); Monte Lee, football (1957, 59-60); and Jimmy Viramontes, basketball (1951-52) and assistant coach (1957-63).
A class of five former female University of Texas standouts and one distinguished former administrator will be inducted as members of the sixth class of the UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor on Friday, Nov. 11 at the Frank Erwin Center. The Class of 2005 inductees are: Shola Lynch, an All-America track and field performer and six-time Southwest Conference champion in the middle distances from 1988-92; Sharon (Neugebauer) Shepard (1981-84), a dual sport-athlete in track and field and volleyball who was a member of 1981 AIAW national championship volleyball squad and the 1982 AIAW national champion outdoor track team; Dr. Sheila Rice, who served in the UT Women's Athletics administration from 1977-97 and is credited with developing the highly-renown women's athletics academic support program; Cynthia Sampson Shipper (1978-82) who was a top-flight tennis standout in the AIAW varsity tennis era; Jackie (Swaim) DiNardo, basketball team standout from 1978-81 who went on to star in the USA Basketball program and was the first UT basketball player to earn a gold medal in USA Basketball competition; and "Legacy Award" recipient Betsy Rawls, winner of 55 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tournament in her Hall of Fame golf career and a student at The University of Texas from 1947-50.
Talbert, who was an All-Southwest Conference selection as a junior defensive tackle in 1965 and a preseason All-American in 1966, was a three-year letterman (1964-66) and a tri-captain in 1966. A fifth-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams, he played four seasons there before moving to Washington in 1971. In his 10 years with the Redskins, Talbert played in a Super Bowl (in '73) and was Redskins captain for nine seasons, playing in more than 200 games.
On the 70th anniversary of the Redskins, Talbert was named one of the 70 greatest who played for the Skins.
"I'll tell you that I am honored to be recognized for the Hall of Honor," he said of his selection. "I appreciate it. It's pretty cool."
Pretty cool is an apt description of Eddie Phillips, who was considered one of the best wishbone quarterbacks ever. He guided the 1970 Longhorns to an unbeaten regular season and a national championship (United Press International).
"I'm humbled, excited, pleased and proud," said Phillips of his selection to the Hall of Honor. "There's lots of emotions going on. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
Phillips noted that he is the sixth member of his recruiting class to be inducted. Steve Wooster, the late Freddy Steinmark and Cotton Speyrer are among the others.
"And, of course, it is an honor to be in with my father-in-law," said Phillips, noting the late Tom Landry, a Longhorns great before his NFL playing days with the New York Giants and coaching glory in Dallas.
Phillips said he never thought about the Hall of Honor when he embarked on his UT career.
"This kind of thing doesn't enter the mind of an 18-year-old," he said, laughing.
Phillips averaged 4.8 yards per carry and gained 1,211 yards in his three-year career (1969-71), freshman were not eligible then), ranking 30th on the all-time Texas rushing list.
He played a large part in two historic football events at Texas.
Phillips found Speyrer on a 45-scoring pass with 12 seconds left to defeat UCLA, preserving the 30-game winning streak.
Phillips followed James Street at the helm of the wishbone in 1970.
"I remember Coach (Emory) Bellard asked me to come to breakfast," said Phillips. "While sitting there, he took the salt and pepper shakers and showed me the wishbone. I thought, 'That looks weird.'"
But it worked…as UT ran off 30 straight victories.
The streak ended in the 1971 Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame when Phillips rushed (164) and passed (199) for 363 yards, but the Horns lost.
"That was bittersweet," Phillips said of his personal excellence but the team defeat. "We put the ball on the ground nine times and lost five."
Viramontes, a 5-foot-7 playmaking guard from Las Cruces, N.M., helped lead Texas to the 1951 SWC title.
"Being named to the Hall of Honor means an awful lot," said Viramontes, who lives in Austin, having served as principal at Reagan High School before his retirement.
"I am grateful and very humble," he continued. "I have many great memories of my time at Texas. It was a most rewarding time in my life."
Charlie Gorin, a two-time All-SWC pitcher during his UT stint (1948-50), was a starter on the 1949 and 1950 teams that claimed the first back-to-back College World Series championships in NCAA history. He won three games in the College World Series in 1950 when UT came from the losers' bracket to win. He also found himself on the staff of the Boston Braves, who featured Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain, during a Major League career that was interrupted by his service in the Korean War.
"I'm very proud to be in the Hall of Honor," said Gorin, before heading out to the golf course, where he says he has almost as many curve balls as he had on the mound. He will celebrate his 78th birthday in early 2006.
"My memories of Texas are all very good," said Gorin, who was a teacher, coach and administrator at Anderson and Lanier high schools in Austin. "I was about 150 pounds and that was only with rocks in my pocket."
Monte Lee was a two-way end who went from being a reserve to a starter for the Oklahoma game in 1957. Noted for his blocking, Lee grabbed a pair of touchdown passes against OU.
Lee, a two-time All-SWC performer, played with the Cardinals, Lions and Colts in his four-year NFL career.